Many readers have been interested in the resin necklaces I made for the girls this past Christmas, so I thought I would give some more detailed instructions for another resin project I made – a memory ring for my sister. This mini photo collage ring would make a great gift for Mother’s Day, or for anyone who would like a personalized piece of jewelry that captures some of their favourite moments. You can also create a design using a beautiful piece of fabric or paper, tiny dried flowers, beads, a favourite quote – the sky’s the limit!
When I first decided to try working with resin, I was really lucky to find Annie Howes, a great website that offers all the quality supplies I needed and fabulous tutorials to guide me through. In fact, with all the choices available for glass pendant and resin projects on this site, it was hard to narrow it down to just a few projects. I thought a ring would be perfect for my sister, and loved the wide band on Annie’s bezel ring settings. I chose some photos and words that would have meaning for her, and I was all set.
For this project, I used the following supplies, all from Annie Howes:
Luxe Epoxy Resin Jewelry Doming Resin Kit
Silver Plated Deep Well Bezel Ring Setting
Before you start a resin project, ensure that your work area is clean and dust-free. You don’t want lint or stray pet hairs to find their way into your jewelry. Make sure you work in a well ventilated area any time you are working with the resin, since it gives off toxic fumes. I worked on my stovetop with the fan running, on a piece of stiff cardboard. Annie recommends that you wear a respirator and use protective gloves.
First, prepare your design. One of the tricks I used was to cut a square the size of the bezel setting from a small piece of heavy paper (I used a scrap of inkjet photo paper), allowing me frame the pictures I was considering so that I could see how well the size would work in the space. Using this as a template, it was easy to cut my photos to the right size. Hint: use a program like Photoshop, iPhoto, or a similar program to resize your pictures so that they fit properly into the setting.
If you are adding any text, magazines are great sources for words and phrases in attractive colours and fonts. Hint: If the words you want to use are too large, as mine were for this ring, photographed them and resized using Photoshop or a similar program.
Based on Annie’s advice, I used Glamour Glue to seal the photos so that the ink would not bleed into the resin. Do this on both sides.
After applying a coat of Glamour Glue to the photos, and letting them dry, I cut them out. I found it was much easier to coat the photos with glue before they were cut into tiny pieces.
Next, I laid out the photo collage in the setting. I brushed the back of each photo with Glamour Glue so that it stayed in place as I worked. Hint: a pair of tweezers is invaluable for this step.
I gave the entire collage a coat of Glamour Glue to ensure it was well sealed and I let it dry. Make sure that the photos are pressed down and that no air bubbles are left between the photos and the bezel. It is important to allow the collage to try thoroughly as any moisture may cause the resin to become cloudy, so don’t rush this step. I left the ring out to dry overnight.
When the collage was dry, I prepared the Luxe resin. This is a 2 part resin that begins to cure as soon as the parts are mixed, with a working time of about 45 minutes after mixing, so make sure you have everything ready to go before you start this step. The recommended working temperature is 72°F with low humidity, so keep this in mind for best results. The hardener and the resin must be mixed in equal parts, using at least ¼ ounce of each as a minimum recommended amount. The resin must be mixed thoroughly but slowly, so that bubbles do not form. It will start out cloudy and become clear after it is mixed properly. Annie’s kit comes with a small measuring cup, and popsicle sticks for stirring, to make this step easy. Let the resin stand for 10 minutes to allow any bubbles formed to rise to the surface.
Balance the ring so that the bezel is level. I used some kitchen tongs to hold the ring up while I worked. Carefully add resin to the bezel using a popsicle stick until it is filled and slightly doming. Do this slowly to avoid creating bubbles. Any bubbles that do form should be removed. I used a toothpick to coax them out. There were many tiny bubbles remaining, and I found the easiest way to remove these was to run the flame from a barbeque lighter just over the surface of the resin. The heat causes the bubbles to rise and burst. Be careful not to bring the flame too close to the resin, as it can scorch and discolour. You may have to repeat this once or twice, waiting 5 or 10 minutes in between.
Resin takes about 24 hours to fully cure at room temperature. Cover your work to keep it clean during this time, using an overturned plastic container or aluminum foil tent. Make sure to leave gaps at the bottom for ventilation.
Once you gather up the materials, this is a pretty easy project. The doming resin gives a gorgeous finish that really highlights your mini collage – the photo does not quite do it justice. This is a great way to create a fun and funky personalized piece of jewelry. My sis, who is hopelessly sentimental like I am, loved it. When she’s not wearing the ring, she displays it like a tiny framed photograph. Give this project a try and create a memento that captures some great moments, for yourself or someone you love.